Over the past few months, Netgear has regularly announced new members of the Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax family of routers. We discussed in detail the launch of the RAX80 and RAX120 in November last year. Since then Netgear has also introduced a solution for three RAX200 radios. RAX80, RAX120 and RAX200 currently have MSRP of $ 400, $ 500 and $ 600 respectively. These price points made it difficult in terms of encouraging market acceptance.
Netgear seeks to solve this problem with the new Nighthawk RAX40 AX3000 router. This AX4 model has a configuration of 4 streams. Its $ 200 MSRP is significantly lower than those sold by other Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 routers. While Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6's previous routers were based on Broadcom or Qualcomm silicon, the RAX40 is based on the Intel Moore Rapids platform (Intel Home Series Wi-Fi WAV600).
The following table summarizes the technical characteristics of the four Wi-Fi 6 routers that are currently in the Netgear Nighthawk.
|Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 routers|
|Configuration of spatial flow|| 2.4G: 2×2
| 2.4G: 4×4
| 2.4G: 4×4
| 2.4G: 4×4
5G: 4×4 + 4×4
|Leading ports||5x 1Gbps||1x 5 / 2.5 / 1Gbps|| 5x 1Gbps
|2x USB 3.0||2x USB 3.0|
|Radio stations||Intel WAV654||Qualcomm QCN5054||Broadcom BCM43684 x3|
|Intel AnyWAN SoC GRX350||Broadcom BCM4908||[$19659010] $ 500||$ 600|
Nighthawk RAX40 is a good entry point for the Wi-Fi 6 ecosystem for average consumer. With practically all 802.11ax client platforms that use the maximum 2×2 configuration, scenarios with one client will see virtually any difference in performance with the RAX40 and any more expensive siblings. Things will obviously change when several wireless clients enter the game at the same time. RAX120, for example, can support four simultaneously 2×2 MU-MIMO clients with a configuration of 8×8 5GHz. Nevertheless, the RAX40 supports DFS channels and 160 MHz – two aspects that can immediately show the benefits of end-user bandwidth. In fact, the RAX40 can deliver a gigabit wireless network even for 802.11ac customers, such as the Intel Wireless AC9560, present in NUCs Bean Canyon.
Overall, the introduction of RAX40, especially in conjunction with the availability of calculations equipped with the Cyclone Peak system starting in this quarter, is a big boost for Wi-Fi ecosystems. Wi-Fi wireless router space is dominated by Broadcom and Qualcomm (and , to a lesser degree, Mediatek) for some time. Adding Intel as a serious player in this space is a great news for consumers.